After winning the Big 12 regular season outright in 2016 and (sharing with TCU) in 2017, the Red Raider Baseball team is out for a 3-peat. And for the first time since 1999, they are the preseason favorites.

In the Big 12 Coaches poll the Red Raiders received 61 points in the coaches poll with five first-place votes with TCU getting the remaining four votes. Texas, Oklahoma and West Virginia rounded out the top-5.

Texas Tech has good reason to be picked as the top team in the Big 12, with 22 returning from the 2017 squad including Big 12 and national pitcher of the year Steven Gingery. The 2017 team had a 45-17 record on its way to a national seed.

After a quick peak at texastech.com. the list of accomplishments returning to the field in 2018 gets a little longer.

Included in Texas Tech’s 22 returning student-athletes are Big 12 & National Pitcher of the Year Steven Gingery; Big 12 Freshman of the Year & Freshman All-American infielder Josh Jung, fellow Freshman All-American Grant Little; All-Big 12 First Team outfielder Cody Farhat; 2016 Freshman All-American RHP Davis Martin; 2016 All-Big 12 honoree infielder Michael Davis; and 2014 Freshman All-American LHP Dylan Dusek.

Dusek and Martin return to the 2018 team after missing most of -- or all of -- the 2017 season.

Texas Tech is also a consensus top five team in the national preseason polls that have been released thus far, including a 3rd overall ranking by d1baseball.com and the USA today Coaches poll. No national poll has Texas Tech worse than the top five.

Despite all the returning starters, there's still plenty of opportunity for freshman players to impact the Texas Tech baseball team, namely at first base and in the bullpen.